Anthony Albanese hopes the nation won't be plunged into lockdown amid soaring COVID-19 cases, with infections not likely to plateau until September.
The prime minister's concerns come as authorities urge Australians to mask up indoors although mandates have not been reinstated.
Asked on Wednesday if border closures or lockdowns could be brought back as the country grapples with rising infections, Mr Albanese responded: "I hope not".
"I think people are done with those sort of economic restrictions ... when I met with the state premiers and chief ministers last week, no one's arguing for those economic constraints to be brought back," he told 3AW.
Mr Albanese said based on modelling from health authorities, the winter wave is expected to peak in August and will likely be over by September.
The prime minister said the impact was likely to be similar to that of the summer wave earlier this year.
"It's pretty close to being the same at the moment, of where we were in January ... but the difference is this is a very infectious strain," he said.
Speaking from Melbourne, Mr Albanese praised people for being "incredibly responsible during this pandemic".
"People have done it tough," he said.
"People have looked after each other and I'm confident that they'll continue to do so."
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said strong community action is needed to halt the spread of the virus but has labelled mandates "contentious".
"It's a pretty strong recommendation," he told the ABC on Wednesday.
"I have recommended that we need to increase mask use ... we have left it there for others to consider the pros and cons of how to do that."
Prof Kelly refused to be drawn on revealing forecasted case numbers for the end of winter.
"We don't always get it right but the trends are there ... all I can say is for the next month all of the forecasts are that we will continue to see more cases unless we all work together to slow that spread," he said.
Australians are being encouraged to work from home where possible and get the booster doses they are eligible for.
In the past week, more than 300,000 cases have been recorded nationwide but Health Minister Mark Butler believes the true number to be much higher.
With more than 5000 Australians hospitalised with COVID-19 across the country and healthcare staff grappling with increasing flu patients, he says the latest virus wave is proving significant.
But while more than half a million Australians have had a fourth vaccine dose since eligibility was expanded last week, rates for the third booster are lagging.
"The third dose rate just isn't shifting fast enough," Mr Butler told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
"There are still more than five million Australians for whom there's at least six months since they had their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine but have not yet had a third dose."
Health forecasting predicts case numbers will continue to rise over coming months, Prof Kelly said.
"We cannot stop this wave of infections but we can slow the spread and protect the vulnerable," he added.
"We have done this before and we can do it again."
Australia recorded more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases and 75 deaths on Tuesday.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
NSW: 15,352 cases, 20 deaths, 2236 in hospital with 63 in ICU
Victoria: 12,984 cases, 28 deaths, 906 in hospital with 45 in ICU
Tasmania:1586 cases, three deaths (one occurred in April and has only just been confirmed) with 49 in hospital and two in ICU
Queensland: 9650 cases, 15 deaths, 1034 in hospital and 21 in ICU
SA: 4774 cases, 22 deaths (from May 3 to July 18), 323 in hospital with 11 in ICU
WA: 7901 cases, two deaths, 457 in hospital with 22 in ICU
NT: 642 cases, 68 in hospital with one in ICU
Australian Associated Press
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