The federal government has justified plans to cut parenting allowances and welfare payments for people travelling overseas by stressing the importance of work for all Australians.

The government is expected to scale down parenting payments in Tuesday's budget, delivering $700 million in savings.

Single parents would lose support payments when their youngest child turns eight and be transferred to the Newstart allowance.

For partnered parents, income support will end when their youngest child turns six.

Welfare recipients will lose benefits if they travel overseas for more than six weeks.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said the government believed in the importance and the dignity of work for all Australians.

It also wanted payments to be thought of as assistance, rather than as a disincentive for people to participate in the workforce.

"Government assistance needs to be targeted," Mr Bradbury told ABC Radio on Friday.

"It needs to be well targeted to people who need that assistance most."

About 25,000 people receiving family tax benefits spent more than six weeks a year overseas, News Limited reported on Friday.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott supports the plan, saying he is in favour of people working wherever possible.

"I think that if you are fit and young, you should work," he told ABC Radio.