The Inter striker has not enjoyed the most prosperous of starts to life at San Siro, although Germany's general manager Oliver Bierhoff backed Podolski to continue to play a part for the national side this week.
And the Arsenal loanee once again showed his quality to steer home a cross from fellow substitute Andre Schurrle nine minutes from time.
Joachim Low started Holger Badstuber and Ilkay Gundogan following their lengthy injury lay-offs, but the world champions delivered a largely lacklustre performance, despite taking the lead after 17 minutes through Marco Reus.
James Troisi's header deservedly brought Australia level five minutes prior to half-time and visiting captain Mile Jedinak then turned the game on its head with a well-taken free-kick in the 50th minute.
The late introductions of Podolski and Schurrle proved crucial as they combined to spare Germany defeat in their first outing of 2015, as Low left the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng on the bench ahead of Sunday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia.
Australia handed a debut to Luke DeVere and started brightly in their first match since being crowned Asian champions, with Nathan Burns and Jason Davidson threatening Low's three-man defence early on.
Badstuber almost marked his first Germany appearance since 2012 in dream fashion when he steered an effort round Mat Ryan's left-hand post.
Chances then came the way of Mathew Leckie and Davidson before Reus had the ball in the net only for it to be disallowed for offside.
Less than a minute later, Reus did beat the trap to convert Sami Khedira's pinpoint cross.
The Borussia Dortmund forward should have doubled Germany's advantage when he seized on a sloppy pass from Jedinak, only to shoot wide, and the world champions were made to pay as they switched off at a throw-in, allowing Burns to find a pocket of space and cross for Troisi.
The Zulte Waregem forward planted a header past Ron-Robert Zieler - picked ahead of the injured Manuel Neuer - to send the sides in level at the break.
Jedinak put Australia ahead just five minutes into the second half as Zieler failed to keep out a curling free-kick, despite getting a hand to the ball.
Karim Bellarabi stung Ryan's palms with a drive from outside the area as Germany sought to get back into the game, although it was Australia who looked more threatening as Leckie struck the post following a quick counter.
With time running out, Podolski made the most of a rare chance for the hosts as he steered home Schurrle's pass to register his first goal of the year and move ahead of Rudi Voller and Jurgen Klinsmann in Germany's all-time scoring charts.
Low will be eager for a response when his side return to qualifying action in Tbilisi on Sunday, although they came close to snatching victory against Ange Postecoglou's men when Podolski burst clear only to prod wide with the outside of his boot.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.